Recent Water Damage Posts

Water Stains on Your Ceiling? Here's The Fix

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

A water stain is shown on a ceiling. Although the stain may have dried, the underlying cause of the stain could still potentially be a threat to your home.

If you notice a small water stain on your ceiling, chances are it was most likely caused by a plumbing issue or roof leak. Either one of these events would cause water to seep through the ceiling and evaporate, leaving you with a discolored, unsightly mark.

Where did it come from?

If you find a water stain on your ceiling you should immediately look for what caused the leak, address it, and then begin working to repair the affected areas. Many homeowners who notice water stains will ignore them. Either because they think it’s not a potential issue, or they simply just forget about it. It is vital that the issue is addressed immediately, as it could potentially get worse. Many people will also go straight to covering up the stain without addressing the initial cause. This potentially will leave you with a larger, more expensive problem on your hands in the future.

Open up the affected area or hire a professional to remove the affected ceiling or walls.  Then make the necessary repairs to the source of the damage yourself, or enlist the help of a roofer, plumber, or HVAC professional. 

The leak is fixed, what now?

Inspect the areas for mold, water and odor.  Should you have any of those three items, it always best to have a professional make an inspection.  SERVPRO of Media offers free inspections to all of our water damage clients.  

Once the area has been properly remediated, you can begin completing the repairs, by replacing drywall and then painting. Start off by moving the furniture out of the way, and covering and protecting your contents.  Then tape off the areas you don’t want to get paint on with blue tape, as you normally would before beginning to paint.

Apply an oil-based, stain blocking, mold-resistant primer. If you have a smooth ceiling, you can roll it on with a paint roller. Alternatively, if you have a popcorn ceiling it would probably be easiest to spray it on. After applying the primer, you can paint the ceiling with the paint of your choice. Wait the recommended amount of time before applying a second coat. After the paint dries, your ceiling should look like there was never a stain to begin with!

If you experience a pipe burst or water leak in your home that is too large to handle on your own, call SERVPRO of Media/Central Delaware County. We have the knowledge and training to handle any loss, regardless of size!

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

An outdoor pipe is shown covered in ice. Did you know that damage caused from frozen pipes affects around a quarter-million American families each year?

With temperatures gradually decreasing and colder weather approaching, the threat of frozen pipes becomes more of a reality for many homeowners. If unfavorable weather conditions cause the heat to go out just when you need it most, there are a few things that you can do to prevent costly repairs from being needed.

The "Trickle Method"

If the heat goes out in your home, a simple yet highly effective way to prevent frozen pipes is the “trickle method”. Turn on the faucets in your home and allow a small amount of water to trickle through. The reason this works to prevent pipes from freezing is not because of the movement of water throughout the pipes, but because of the heat that the water picks up from underneath the frost line. It may not be incredibly warm, but the temperature underneath the ground is above freezing.

Winterization

If the heat in your home is going to be out for longer than a day and the temperatures will remain below freezing, then “winterization” of your home’s plumbing system is strongly recommended. (See https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-winterize-plumbing-pipes-844862 for a step-by-step on how to winterize your home’s plumbing system.)

Winterizing your home’s plumbing system is not always necessary though, and can be problematic since it is very difficult to empty the pipes of all water without an air compressor and notice before the outage. This is why at a minimum it is recommended to allow water to trickle through the faucets as a preventative measure.

Pipe Insulation

Winterizing your home’s plumbing system and allowing water to trickle through the faucets are great as last minute preventative measures, but the simplest way to prevent frozen pipes is to insulate them! Insulating your pipes will keep them warm in frigid temperatures, preventing them from freezing and bursting. Both cold and hot water pipes should be insulated, and be sure to pay attention to pipes that are already in unheated areas of your home. Insulating your pipes will require a small investment, but it is ultimately cheaper in the long run. No one wants to deal with the emotional and financial stress that a burst pipe leak brings.

If a pipe bursts in your home, contact the experts here at SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County to help with the water mitigation process.

Ice Dams

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

Ice Dams: Several quick fixes but only one cure.

An ice dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edge of a roof under certain wintertime conditions. An ice dam can damage both your roof and the inside of your home. It will put gutters and downspouts at risk too.

Ice dams are a common sight in Northern New England winters, and Home Partners has dealt with quite a few. There are several things you can do to avoid getting an ice dam or to reduce the risk of damage after one has formed, but there’s really only one cure: a combination of better sealing, insulation, and venting in the attic and eaves.

How do ice dams form?

An ice dam forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.

The flatter the pitch of the roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to get a grip. Gutters at the eaves can also trap snow and ice. If snow and ice build up high enough in the gutter, it can provide a foundation for an ice dam.

What damage do ice dams cause?

When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles. Eventually, the water will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave, ruining sheet rock and paint. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot

How to deal with existing ice dams

  1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp tool! You’ll cut through the shingles. Instead, tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This is slow, dangerous work, so hire someone experienced at roofing. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.
  2. Clear out gutters and downspouts. Again, this is ladder work and an easy way to damage either plastic or metal gutters and spouts.
  3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Do NOT use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.

A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of pantyhose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.